The Battle of Zakharina, (just north of Smolensk) 18th August 1812
A fictional game around Postie’s shed last Saturday
Warning this is a long post, you may need a beer and a sandwich to help you get to the end.
Order of Battle
Left to Right John, Fran (The Angry Lurker), here's a Link & Dave.
|Fran, being his usual charming self.|
1st Infantry Division
All regiment had 2 battalons unless stated
1st Brigade - Permsky & Azovsky
2nd Brigade - Brest & Pernovsky
3rd Brigade - 49th & 30th Jagers
Heavy Gun 1
Light Gun 2
2nd Infantry Division
4th Brigade - Minsk & Volhyna
5th Brigade – Tobolsk & Bielozenkov
6th Brigade – 34th & 48th Jagers
Heavy Gun 3
Light Gun 4
3rd Infantry Division
7th Brigade – Pavlovski & Ekaterinoslav Grenadiers
8th Brigade – St Petersburg & Arakcheov Grenadiers
9th Brigade – Semenovsky Guards 3 Battalions
Guard Heavy Gun 5
Elite Light gun 6
1st Cavalry Division
1st Brigade Katerinoslav Cuirassiers & Riga Dragoons
2nd Brigade Military Orders Cuirassiers & Novgorod Cuirassiers
2nd Cavalry Division
3rd Brigade Olwiopol & Marioupol Hussars Attached Horse Gun 7
4th Brigade Kargopol & Moscow Dragoons
5th Brigade Horse Guards & Emperors Guard Cuirassiers
Left to Right, Ray (me) & Smiffy
|Smiffy doing his Il Duche impersonation.|
1st Infantry Division
1st Brigade – 30th Line 3 Battalions & 24th Line 1 Battalion
2nd Brigade – 12th Line 3 Battalions & 36th Line 1 Battalion
3rd Brigade – 4th Line 3 Battalions & 3rd Line 1 Battalion
4th Brigade – 3rd Swiss Line Elite 2 Battalions & 1st Swiss Line Elite 2 Battalions
Heavy Gun 1
Medium Gun 2
Should have been Michael’s Army but he wouldn’t get out of bed!!
2nd Infantry Division
5th Brigade - 57th Line Elite 4 Battalions
6th Brigade – 70th Line 1 Battallion & 10th Light Elite 3 Battallions
7th Brigade – 58th Line 3 Battalions & 86th 1 Battalion
8th Brigade – Hesse Darmstadt Erbprinz 2 Battakions & Leib Line 2 Battalions
Heavy Gun 3
Light Gun 4
1st Cavalry Division
1st Brigade - 7th Cuirassiers & 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers
2nd Brigade - 10th & 3rd Cuirasseiers
2nd Cavalry Division
3rd Brigade - 1st Hussars & 10th Chasseurs a Cheval
Attached Horse Gun 5
4th Brigade – 23rd & 15th Dragoons
5th Brigade – 1st Polish Lancers Guard & Empress Guard Dragoons
Guard Horse Gun 6
The rules we use for Napoleonic’s are a mish mash set made up by Postie, mainly from General de Brigade and taking out a lot of the paper work, supposedly making the game quicker. The game started at 10 in the morning and finished at 4, we only had time for 4 turns, but got a result at the end. Apologies for the quality of some of the photos, we just can’t seem to get decent pictures in the shed, I think we need better lighting. Anyway, on with the game.
The game was played on a 10 x 6 foot table made up of 2 foot TSS terrain boards. Each division had to set up on a separate 2 foot board at a random number of inches decided by a throw of the dice.
The Russian 1st division set up on the Russian right 12 inches on the table. The 2nd division also threw 12 inches on. In the centre of the table the Elite 3rd division set up 30 inches (damn them), on the table giving them a massive head start to get to the hill in the centre of the table. The 1st Cavalry division set up 24 inches on, while on the left flank, the 2nd Cavalry division set up 12 inches.
The French had one less division than the Russians, we decided to leave the extreme left flank open, as Postie the umpire suggested we may get another division on during the game, (lying git). On our left we put the strong 2nd Division, Smiffy managed to match the Russian 12 inches on. In the centre Smiffy only rolled an 18, basically giving the centre hill to the Russian Grenadiers & Guards. Meanwhile the French Cavalry Divisions rolled a 30 & a 24 inch to set up.
So before the game had even started , the Russians had a big advantage, they then won the roll for the Elite Commander-In-Chief . This meant each game turn they would get a plus 1 to the dice, to decide who would go first or second.
|The Initial setup. |
The French are on the left, Russians on the right, note how
far forward the Russians Grenadiers & Guard are in the centre.
The Russians advanced on all fronts, Fran’s 3rd Russian Infantry Division, took the hill in the centre and set up for a defensive battle leaving a space for Dave’s Kargopol Dragoons to take up a position at the end of the hill.
|The Russians take the hill with their Grenadiers.|
The French left tried to move into a defensive formation, hoping to help cover the forthcoming attack on the hill by the French 1st Division, led by the elite Swiss Line. The French 1st Cavalry Division seeing a chance to perhaps knock back Russians on the Hill moved into position. The 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers, lined up for an attack next turn on the Light Gun 3 that was on the left flank of the infantry on the hill and the 3rd Cuirassiers moved up the hill to face the Kargopol Dragoons. The rest of the cavalry brigades moved into position to attack the oncoming Russian cavalry.
|The French 3rd Cuirassiers move up to engage the Kargopol Dragoons.|
|The 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers getting ready to charge the Russian Artillery.|
|A rear view of the advance of the Russian Army. The Grenadiers are are in a secure |
defensive position on the hill, while behind them, the Guard are waiting. In the
foreground are the Hussars and Dragoons of the 2nd Cavalry Division.
|End of Turn 1|
The Russians won the choice of first move again, without the help of the plus 1. The Russian 5th Cavalry Brigade containing the 2 regiments of Guards entered the table behind the heavy cavalry of the 1st Cavalry division.
|The Russian 5th Bigade, The Horse Guards and The Emperors Guard Cuirassiers.|
There were multiple cavalry charges on the Russian left flank, in the rules charges are done before the movement phase, so both sides initiated charges.
The Russian right advanced at a slow pace and were going to be hard pressed to make it to the battle in time, (poor John). In the centre Fran’s Grenadiers consolidated their position.
The French left was in disarray, their leader although he was the Commander In Chief of the Imperial French Army could not get his act together and quite rightly got his fair share of ribbing from the Russians, but mainly from me! (for gods sake Smiffy, it ain’t hard, a defensive line from the hill to your deployed artillery......), he got it in the end.
|" No...Not there Smiffy"|
A headless Smiffy, ponders what to do??
|The 2nd Chevau-Leger charge the Artilley.|
Melee turn 2
The 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers attacked and destroyed the Russian light gun on the hill, they then chose not to follow up the charge as the dirty Russians had guessed the French plan to follow on the attack into the 2nd Pavlovski Grenadiers. The 2nd Pavlovski had retreated back out of the range of the Lancers and moved up a battalion of Semenovsky Guards and put them into square.
At the end of the hill the 3rd Cuirasseirs and the Kargopol Dragoons charged each other, the French killed 4 Russians and captured the Dragoon standard, the Russians fled back towards their lines but were caught in the back by the 3rd, mixed fortunes followed, another 4 Russians were knocked from their horses and killed, but also killed was the French 2nd Brigade leader, this caused a morale check which the French passed and withdrew a full move to regroup. The Kargopol Dragoons fled back once more,
There was another almighty tussle on the French right, where there was a 4 way melee involving the French 10th and 7th Cuirasseirs v the Olwiopol and Mariopol Hussars. This turned out to be a disaster for the Russians losing the melee 9-5, as a result the Olwiopol Hussars routed and the Marioupol Hussars fell back half a move disordered. The 7th followed up and smashed the Marioupol Hussars again 3-2, causing them to flee. The 7th then stood and rested.
Turn 3 started with the Russians winning the choice of first or second movement AGAIN!, they chose to go first again. This is very important in the game and means that after all movement has taken place, the Russians will fire first, if they cause any casualties on the French, they would not be allowed to fire back in return.
The Russian right continued to advance a quickly as possible, while opposite them, Smiffy's French ran around like headless chickens, trying to consolidate and make a better defensive line.
Nearly every other unit on the frontline for both sides charged or were charged.
|Devastation for the Russian front line.|
In the centre there was a combined charge by the French 1st Division with the Elite Swiss out at the front in column charged up the hill, towards the Pavlovski Grenadiers, taking casualties on the way, including the 3rd Brigade leader who was attached to 2nd Battalion 3rd Swiss. Also hitting the Pavlovski regt in the flank was what was left of the 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers, they lost a massive 5 casualties being fired at in the flank by 2 Battalions of the Semenovsky Guards. But it was all too much for the Pavlovski Grenadiers as they were wiped out to the man, the Lancers captured their flag on the way. See the right side of the photo above.
In the centre of the photo above, the 1st Ekatinerislav Grenadiers had their flag captured and were pushed back off the hill by, the French 3rd Line 3rd Battalion & the 4th Line 3rd Battalion and to round off the Russian defeat on the hill, Smiffy threw well against all odds and routed the 2nd Ekatinerislav Grenadiers, beating them 5-3, well done to the 4th Line 1st Batallion.
|The Russian Cavalries Triumph.|
Just to add to the Russian misery this turn, their Cavalry were totally trounced on their left.Dave was spitting feathers and full of confidence as his heavy cavalry met my light cavalry. Last turn my heavies beat his lights, so he thought perhaps by the laws of average he should triumph this turn, how wrong was he....
My French 10th Chasseurs a Chavel beat his Katerinoslav Cuirassiers 5-1, they routed. The 1st Hussars & Riga Dragoons drew 2 each and stayed were they were to fight on in the next turn.. The French 23rd Dragoons beat the Military Orders Cuirassiers 5-3 & followed up after they retreated to beat them again this time 5-2, the Russians were destroyed with the 23rd capturing their flag. The 15th French Dragoons beat the Russian Novgorad Cuirassiers 3-2 and followed up after they retreated, this was a close run thing, I threw my 5 dice, needing 5 & 6's, head bowed, my humiliation of the Russians was ended, I only got 1 hit. Then seeing Dave face all screwed up in agony I realised Dave did not get any hits. The Russians fled back.
|In the rear, (ooh 'er missus)|
Dave did have the last laugh this turn as he won his first melee, his Moscow Dragoons charged my previously glorious winners the 3rd Cuirasseirs, hitting them in the rear, (they fell back to redress their ranks last turn), the Russians captured the 3rd's flag as they ran the unit into the ground.
So ends turn 3
The Russians won the first move again, that was getting pretty boring now and from then on the battle turned on the French, we were doing so well. The time was getting on, we kind of guessed this would be the last turn of the game, so very graciously Fran decided he'd let poor John, (remember him, the other Russian player stuck out on the right flank, picking splinters out of his arse), throw the rest of his dice that turn as he'd only thrown 2 dice the whole game and missed both times. Dave then decided the same as he'd lost all but one melee all day, at the time it was Dave 1-12 Ray, this proved our undoing as John, a fairly new member of a little group of sad patsys, is well known for being shit hot with the dice, and this did not change....
|The whole in the centre is where the 2nd Chevau-Leger lancers met their|
maker, while on the right is the doomed 1st 1st Swiss
Not a lot happened on the Russian right/French left, all the action happened where it had the previous 2 turns, on the hill in the centre and the French right flank. In the centre the now infamous 2nd Chevau-Leger Lancers were wiped out by musket fire, while the 2nd 3rd Swiss line lost 4 figures. The 1st Battalion 1st Swiss were wiped out by devastating combined musket and artillery fire. The Swiss also lost another Brigade leader from the 4th Brigade. The French faired a little better during the melee, the 2nd Battalion St Petersburg Grenadiers were routed by the 4th line 2nd Battalion & the 1st Battalion St Petersburg were held to a draw by the 4th Line 3 Battalion, but the French lost their Battalion Leader.
The French 10th Cuirassiers then knocked back the Moscow Dragoons, (Dave's only melee winners & now his favourite unit), beating them 3-1. Revenge for the 3rd.
|The Victorious Guard.|
The 15th Dragoons & the Novogorod Cuirassiers fought a hard 3-3 slog, but again the French Brigade leader became a casualty. Then it all ended for the French the 23rd Dragoons charged The Emperors Guard Cuirasseirs who were in column. John won the melee 3-1, things got worse as he then captured the 23rd's flag. The French were pushed back but were still in range of the Guards who followed up and charged again. The 23rd were beaten 6-4, and destroyed. The attached Divisional commander was captured.
The result of the game was a narrow victory for the Russian scum, (I'm allowed to be biased). The Russians destroyed more units than the French. The French captured 6 flags to the Russians 2, the French killed 3 leaders to 5 by the Russians, but the Russians killed 1 divisional leader. Although the French won the cavalry melees 12-3, in the end we did not totally destroy enough units, which counted against us. So the final score was 19-17.5 in favour of the Russians.Fran won the MVP game award, for his defence on the hill, I got mentioned in dispatches for my destruction of the Russian Cavalry.
|Fran wins the MVP, note how he's still holding the crisp packets, |
he ate both packets, the gready boy!!
|The French left/Russian right at the end of the game. |
They're still miles apart.
|The Russians hold the hill, till the end.|
|What's left of the Cavalry|
|The centre from the Russian right.|